Research Interests


I am the founder and Principal Investigator of the laboratory called Advanced Composites Research, Engineering and Science (ACRES) laboratory.

We work on the durability of fiber-reinforced polymer composites. We study different aspects, from experimental characterization of composites under hygrothermal-mechanical-chemical degradation, to smart composites with embedded sensors.

ACRES Laboratory

Our laboratory consists of a 950 sq.ft. (~90 sq.m.) space with a fumehood, downdraft tables, manufacturing capabilities for Vacuum Assisted Transfer Molding and wet layup, an instrumented impact tester.

ACRES Laboratory (2016)

A nearby laboratory space hosts a uniaxial hydraulic testing machine that I purchased with other faculty members, which can conduct  tests under quasi-static, fatigue and creep conditions, at room temperature or in an environmental chamber.



Our current group members consists of several undergraduate students and graduate students plus a research engineer :

Undergraduate students

(in alphabetic order)

David Goulak (in training*)

Horacio Leon (in training*)

Nick Loftus (in training*), supported by a UC LEADS Summer 2020 fellowship

Heather Lynch (in training*)

Yash Taneja (in training*)

* Experimental research activities in the ACRES Laboratory have been suspended due to COVID-19. ‘In training’ students are working on literature review, modeling projects and experiments carefully monitored for safety.



Marlon Douglas (B.Sc. 2020, Mechanical Engineering)


Graduate students

*M.S. students:

Matt Hagan (working full time at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), from December 2018

*Ph.D. students (in alphabetic order):

Early C. Cobb III (Spring 2020-current)

Amin Ghafourian Momenzadeh (Winter 2018-current), co-advised with Prof. Raissa D’Souza

Samira Iqbal (Fall 2020-current)

Maj. Daniel Nelson (Fall 2020-current), supported by the US Air Force Defense Innovation Unit program


Research engineers

Shreya Rastogi (May 2019-current), who has ~5 years of research experience with ACRES (first as an undergraduate student researcher, then as a research engineer)


Visiting students

In Summer 2018, we hosted a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student from Stanford University, Ghufran Alkhamis.

In February-July 2017, we hosted a Ph.D. student from Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), Marialaura Clausi, advised by Dr. Susanna Laurenzi and Dr. Mariagabriella Santonicola, on a collaborative project on UV sensors for composite materials.

In Summer 2016, we have hosted a high-school intern, Frances Marie Quynn (from Davis Senior High School).

Over the years, we have hosted graduate students from other countries. In Summer 2009, we hosted Anais Farrugia, M.S. student from the French institution ENSMA, who then pursued a Ph.D. at the Ecole des Mines d’Albi (I was invited to serve on her Ph.D. thesis committee). Dr. Farrugia is now R&D engineer in a company manufacturing electromagnetic brakes in France.

In 2014, we hosted for 6 months Ph.D. student Jesus Ku-Herrera in the area of Materials Science of Engineering, from the Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Mexico (advised by Dr. Francis Avilés). Dr. Ku-Herrera is now a researcher of CONACYT-Centro de Investigación en Química Aplicada, Departamento de Síntesis de Polímeros.

In  2014, we hosted Marie Vidovic, an M.S. student in the area of polymers and composites from the Ecole des Mines de Douai (France), now an engineer at Air Liquide, and we hosted Szymon Furtak, a Ph.D. student in industrial engineering from Copenaghen Business School (Denmark). In Spring 2015, we hosted Yao “Sunny” Chen, an aerospace engineer who worked at Airbus and was trained in China and France.


ACRES alumni

Group members include David Bartolo (about to start his M.S. degree at UC Davis in the area of computational fluid research), Duha Bader (accepted in NASA L’SPACE Academy), Max Fors (Lighter than Air Research), Linda Wu (engineer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Austin Pastrnak, M.S. (Schafer Corporation/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Adriana Henriquez (Waymo), Jon Thomas (National Technical Systems), Sean Comick (interned at NASA Johnson, now about to start his M.S. degree at UC Davis), Thomas Peev, M.S. (Momentus, a space engineering startup in the Bay Area), Stephen Foster, Dara Sobati (Keysight Technologies), Brett Hecker, Bruno Matsui (SpinLaunch), Aaron Guízar, Trent Storm, Sicheng Kevin Li (Ph.D. at UC Davis with Dr. Lee), Ari Wargon, Travis Gildner, M.S. (Virgin Orbital, and winner of a prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship in 2017, which he declined to work in the space industry), Manuel Cordova, Gregory Shelton (Lockheed Martin), Andrew Westle (Graphene Technologies, Bay Area), Cari Pouchnik (Engineering instructor at Buckingham Carter Magnet High School in Vacaville, CA), Sanaulla Mohammed (Lightning Motorcycle), Victor Quintero (Boeing), Kieran Wolk (Ph.D. student at UCLA), Brett Bacharach (San Diego Composites first, then Virgin Orbital), Milani Lyman (Cobham, Bay Area), Brian Pinto, M.S.  (US Air Force), Angelo Magliola (DT Engineering, Roseville, CA), Nicolas Marinkovich (Swinerton Builders, San Diego, CA), Christopher O’ Keefe (Kite Pharma, The Netherlands), Daniel Reid (Genentech, now project engineer at XL Constructions), Siavash Peiday Saheli (KLA-Tencor, Bay Area), Dr. Serena Ferraro (research engineer who went on to Caltech for her Ph.D., and is now at JPL),  Steven Kern, M.S. (Carbon 3D, CA), Dominique True (Teledyne Reynolds, CA), Antonio Gomez, M.S. (Hyundai America, Los Angeles area), Alyssa “Nikki” Yambao (RGA Design, Bay Area), Erik Quiroz (Fresenius Medical, Bay Area), Robert Pires (Hill Engineering, LLC, Sacramento, CA), Destiny Garcia (Ph.D. student in the area of manufacturing at UC Davis), Stephanie Zhu (Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech), Miguel Duran, Dayane Marques Oliveira (exchange student from Brazil, who graduated with a certificate of best undergraduate student of her Materials Science and Engineering program, now a Ph.D. student at UC Davis), Luciana Arronche, M.S. (also research engineer), Dr. Bryan Loyola (co-advised with Prof. K. Loh, formerly at Sandia Livermore, currently at Microsoft), Cory Brandli (Kratos Aerospace, CA), Yong Yin Chuah (founder of a start-up in the healthy foods industry in Malaysia, after working as engineering manager in American and Chinese corporations), Charles Winkelmann (research engineer, the ideator of the ACRES acronym, working at Kinkisharyo, CA), Dr. Robert Ireland (former undergraduate researcher who went on to pursue a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University and is currently at Wagner Dimas, CA), Dr. Ray Tang (co-advised with Prof. P. Erickson, currently at Sacramento State University), Christie English, Samuel Kim, M.S., Josiah Garcia, Michael Kopriva (who went on to earn an M.S., and is currently Instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School), E. Alex Russell, M.Eng. (Kratos Aerospace, CA), Mike Worley (currently at Southwest Research Institute, UT), Peter Le (Mizuho osi, CA), Katherine Lo.

Undergraduate student Benjamin Chia and research engineer David Moyers, M.S., did a lab rotation in 2019.

Research collaborations

For June 2017-May 2020, I was a co-Investigator of a NASA SSERVI Institute, with title “Radiation Effects on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces (REVEALS)” (PI: Thomas Orlando, Georgia Tech; UC Davis PI: Stephen Robinson).

Below is the list of our collaborators for the past 10 years.

UC Davis

Linke, Barbara, and Robinson, StephenMechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Miller, SabbieYounis, BassamCheng, Lijuan ‘Dawn’ and Loh, Kenneth, Civil and Environmental Engineering (KL recently moved to UC San Diego); Kronawitter, Coleman, and Moule’, Adam, Chemical Engineering; Vega, Katia, Design; Marcellin-Little, Denis, Veterinary Medicine/Orthopedics; Castro, Ricardo,  Materials Science and Engineering.

In USA and outside UC Davis

Muliana, Anastasia, Mechanical Engineering Texas A&M University; Fifield, Leonard, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Elhajjar, Rani, Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Orlando, Thomas; Jones, Brant; Reynolds, John, Georgia Institute of Technology; Beltran, Esther, Florida Space Institute; LaVerne, Jay, Physics, Notre Dame University; Lestari, Wahyu, Aerospace Engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Cavallaro, Paul, Naval Undersea Warfare Center; Campbell, Rick; Dierdorf, Doug; Sullivan, Patrick; Pickett, Brent; Bocchieri, Robert, Applied Research Associates/Air Force Research Laboratory; Bayram, Göknur, Chemical Engineering, Middle-East Technical University, Turkey; Ledesma, Elias, Mechanical Engineering, University of Guanajuato, Mexico; Briggs, Tim, Loyola, Bryan, Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, CA); Skinner, Jack (formerly at Sandia National Laboratories, currently in Engineering, Montana State University); Swartz, Andrew, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University; Grace, Landon, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, North Carolina State University (formerly at University of Miami).

Outside USA

Laurenzi, Susanna, Astronautics/Electrical and Energy Engineering, and Santonicola, M. Gabriella, Chemical Engineering, Materials and Environment, both from Sapienza University of Roma, Italy; Avilés, Francis, Unidad de Materiales/Centro de Investigación Cientifica de Yucatán, Mexico; Herrera, José de Jesús, (former) Ph.D. student of the Unidad de Materiales/Centro de Investigación Cientifica de Yucatán, Mexico, and now researcher of the Centro de Investigación en Química Aplicada, Coahuila, Mexico; Ledesma, Elias, Ramirez Elias, Victor, Rojas Mancera, Erick, Mechanical Engineering, University of Guanajuato, Mexico; Bayram, Göknur, Chemical Engineering, Middle-East Technical University, Turkey.


The photos below show most of our group members over the years.

Group photo, Spring 2019. From left to right, front row: VLS, Linda Wu, David Bartolo, Shreya Rastogi, Adriana Henriquez, Duha Bader. From left to right, back row: Dara Sobati, Jon Thomas, Austin Pastrnak, Max Fors. Not present: Sean Comick, Stephen Foster, Brett Hecker, Benjamin Chia.



(From left) Austin Pastrnak, Adriana Henriquez and David Bartolo at the 2019 NASA Exploration Science Forum

Stephen Foster (2018-2019)

Sean Comick (2019)

From left to right: Ghufran Alkhamis, Matthew Gabel, Taner Dubie, Adriana Henriquez at Sacramento State University (2018)

Group picture, December 2017. From left to right, back row: VLS, Cari Pouchnik, Chris Chighizola, Austin Pastrnak, Jon Thomas, Kevin Li,  Ardalan Sofi, Manuel Cordova. Front row: Oliver Torrealba Aguilar, Adriana Henriquez, Shreya Rastogi. Not present: Pedro Garcia Carrillo, Matthew Gabel, Trent Storm and Ari Wargon.

Brett Bacharach (2017)

Chris O’ Keefe, Spring 2016.

Group picture, Spring 2016. From left to right, front row: VLS, Dominique True, Cari Pouchnik, Adriana Henriquez, Milani Lyman, Ari Wargon, Travis Gildner. From left to right, back row: Andrew Westle, Kieran Wolk, Angelo Magliola, Chris O’ Keefe, Danny Reid, Nico Marinkovich. Not present: Shreya Rastogi.

(Left) Andrew Westle and Chris O’ Keefe (2015)

Brian Pinto (2015)

Dayane Marques Oliveira (2015)

(Front right) Miguel Duran at the National Research Center for Earthquake Engineering,  Taiwan (2015)

From left to right: Robert Pires, Destiny Garcia, Alyssa “Nikki” Yambao, Erik Quiroz (2014)

Steven Kern (2014)

Stephanie Zhu (2014/2015)

Group photo, Fall 2014.
From left to right, front row: Brian Pinto, Jose de Jesus “Chuz” Ku-Herrera, Stephanie Zhu, Miguel Duran. From left to right, back row: VLS, Destiny Garcia, Szymon Furtak, Nico Marinkovich, Daniel Reid, Angelo Magliola.

Group photo, Fall 2013. From left to right: Steven Kern, Alyssa “Nikki” Yambao, Robert Pires, VLS, Antonio Gomez, Erik Quiroz, Serena Ferraro.

Serena Ferraro (2012-2014)

Siavash Peiday Saheli (2012)

Cory Brandli (2010-2011)

Group photo, Summer 2009. From left to right, front row: Luciana Arronche, Anais Farrugia, Yao, Charles Winkelmann, VLS, Dr. Wahyu Lestari. From left to right, back row: Bryan Loyola, Brent Simon, Sertan Yesil, Robert Ireland, Hong-Yue “Ray” Tang.

Group photo 2008. Left to right, front row: Yong Yin Chuah, Gordon Kwong, Samuel Kim, E. Alex Russell, Charles Winkelmann. Left to right, back row: Brent Simon, Christie English, VLS, Bryan Loyola, Michael Kopriva.

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